COUNTERfit

In September, the Supreme Court of Canada decided that Insite - the supervised safe injection program in Vancouver - should be allowed to continue operating. Health and social workers say the program helps reduce the spread of disease among intravenous drug users by providing them with clean needles, and a safe place to inject. And now, many are pushing for the creation of more safe injection sites.



Today's guest host was Jim Brown.

Part One of The Current

Satire

It's Monday, November 7th.

Stephen Harper says he is concerned that Canada lost 54,000 jobs last month - most in the manufacturing sector.

Currently, he's even more concerned the losses could eventually hit the Prime Minister sector.

This is The Current.

COUNTERfit - David McDougall

This weekend, Occupy Vancouver activists called for more funding for addiction services after a 23-year-old woman, Ashley Goh of Victoria, died in the encampment on Saturday afternoon. Police won't confirm her cause of death until her family is notified. But her death follows a non-fatal drug overdose on Thursday at the camp and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson is now forcing the protesters to scatter - citing safety concerns. Vancouver is just one of many Canadian cities dealing with public health concerns over intravenous drug use.

Toronto is already experimenting with a program called COUNTERfit. It's funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and the City of Toronto. COUNTERfit has been operating since 1998. It distributes a quarter of a million clean needles to drug users every year. But it's quite different than Vancouver's supervised safe-injection site, in that COUTNERfit's services are actually embedded in the drug user community.

As part of its harm-reduction strategy, COUNTERfit pays a network of hard drug users and dealers to hand out clean needles - while collecting information about fellow users and the kinds of drugs that are circulating. It's all in an admittedly grey area of the law. Journalist David McDougall spent months following the people involved with the program and brings us this documentary, *The Grey Zone*.

*** A warning: There is some coarse language and explicit drug use in the documentary. ***

Photojournalist Liam Maloney documented the COUNTERfit story in images. You can find those images online at cbcnews.ca.

COUNTERfit - Peggy Millson

Peggy Millson knows the COUNTERfit program well. She is a public health physician and Professor Emeritus at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto and she's studied harm reduction programs for more than 20 years. Peggy Millson was in Palm Springs, California this morning.


Other segments from today's show:

Comments are closed.